Suffolk opens life sciences project in New York

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Diving Brief:

  • Boston-based Suffolk Construction has begun transforming a former industrial building into a high-tech life sciences facility in an effort to help address the lack of space in New York’s biotech industry, according to a press release shared with Construction Dive.
  • The gut renovation and redevelopment of the seven-story, 218,000 square foot Laboratory and Research Center at 43-10 23rd St. in Long Island City, Queens, New York, will include Class A laboratory space that will includes flexible floor plans with minimal support columns.
  • The New York metro area now leads the nation in life sciences jobs and funding, according to a New York City Department of Planning report.

Overview of the dive:

Although increased funding continues to flow into the Big Apple, demand for life science-related spaces continues to exceed supply in the city.

Tom Giordano, Suffolk’s New York area general manager, echoed that sentiment.

“The development of space to meet the specific needs of this industry has not kept pace with demand, placing the metropolitan area at a competitive disadvantage,” Giordano said in the statement.

But that leaves plenty of opportunities for construction companies like Suffolk and others to take advantage of. Australian entrepreneur and developer Lendlease recently identified New York City as a major growth market for life sciences in the United States, along with Boston and Chicago.

New York City is struggling to retain life science talent because it lags Massachusetts and California in labs and offices, Suffolk said. Yet the city has the highest level of education in the life sciences, with nearly 2.5 million residents holding degrees in science, engineering, and engineering-related fields.

Part of the lack of space stems from the fact that making a life science project is much more difficult than a traditional office. Special considerations related to building codes, planning stages, structural details, renovations, and infrastructure needs tend to narrow where a life science construction project can occur in the first place.

Suffolk’s New York operation has experienced significant growth and expansion. For example, the company currently employs 160 people, up from just four in 2015, according to the statement.

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